In the mid-1950s and 1960s, the Terrace Motor Hotel sat on the same location as the Hotel Magdalena and the Hotel Saint Cecilia. As one of Austin’s premier mid-century motor lodges, it boasted over 300 rooms and the ritzy Summer House, a pool-side restaurant with lounge musical acts, which was the inspiration for the name Summer House on Music Lane and a design cue for the restaurant’s douglas fir open grid ceiling structure and outdoor feel.
This 14-acre stretch off South Congress spanning five city blocks and including the Terrace Motor Hotel, eventually came to be owned by legendary musician Willie Nelson. In the 70s, he started Austin Opry House, a famous 1,700 seat music venue, and also built apartments for musicians and traveling road crew. A regular Austin Opry House photographer, Scott Newton, provided his iconic images to Hotel Magdalena – for the hotel rooms and for the common spaces as well. Additionally, the Austin History Center was mined for archival content from this moment in time.